Academic journal article Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review

From Migration Regime to Regional Citizenry: Migration and Identity Implications of the East African Common Market

Academic journal article Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review

From Migration Regime to Regional Citizenry: Migration and Identity Implications of the East African Common Market

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

What are the likely implications, for intraregional migration, of the East African Community (EAC)1 Common Market (CM) when States implement the CM Protocol's provisions? I answer this question here. The CM is rooted in a long history of socioeconomic engagements in East Africa (Nye Jr 1963 and 1965; Umbricht 1989; Wanjohi 2011) whose implications for intraregional migration have hardly been examined. The CM which came into force on 1st July 2010 as part of several integration initiatives2 reflects continuity and change in East African regionalism. It is based on a Protocol (hereinafter, "the Protocol") as an appendage to the Treaty (EAC 1999, 2009). The Protocol allows free movement of goods and services, capital, labour, and persons; grants East Africans the right to establish and settle/reside in Partner States; and accords migrants equal rights with host States' citizens and non-discrimination from host States (EAC 2009). The Protocol's provisions, when fully implemented, have important implications for intra-regional migration and for people's sense of regional belonging and identity. Though analyses of common markets may not be new to studies of regionalism in and beyond Africa (e.g. Nye 1963; Ghai 1983; Mugomba 1978; Hazlewood 1979), this paper narrows gaps left by studies which hardly relate regional regimes and intra-regional identity formations (cf. Acharya 1997).

Studies on regionalism in Africa address the missing link in Africa's regionalism: resource and infrastructure constraints, techno-scientific and socioeconomic underdevelopment, leadership gaps, and limited political commitment (Fawole and Ukeje 2005; Goldstein 2004). More scholarly attention focuses on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) (see Fawole and Ukeje 2005; Goldstein 2004; Oyejide, Elbadawi and Collier 1997 and Oyejide, Ndulu and Greenaway 1999) than on the EAC. Recent studies on the EAC do not address the CM's migration implications (Katabazi2010, Kasule 2009, Ramirez and Drummond 2009). Though the EAC was dissolved in 1977 (Mugomba 1978; Umbricht 1989), crucial developments follow edits revival in the 1990s: the 1999 Treaty; revival of regional institutions; founding of new organs and structures; and the establishment of the customs union and CM (Kiguta 2010; EAC 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2010). Ironically, post-2007 studies of the EAC hardly address the implications of implementing the CM Protocol for intraregional migration and identity formations. Yet, the CM constitutes a regional migration regime from which identity formations may emerge if the current provisions of the Protocol are implemented.

This paper is an attempt at predictive desk research. It considers the EAC CM as a case of regional migration regimes from which identity formations may emerge. An in-depth analysis of the EAC CM, as a regional migration regime, makes three contributions to scholarship: (i) it sheds light on the relationship between regional migration regimes on one hand, and migration and identity formations on another hand. This augments scholars' efforts to examine the link between identity and regionalism (Acharya 1997). (ii) It contributes to existing analyses of the nexus between migration policy and future migration realities, while lifting the analysis from the State to regional level. This is consistent with expectations of the "new regionalism" literature (Kell 2007; Hurrell 1995) which advocates taking Regions as units of analysis below the global but above State levels (also Young 1999). (iii) This approach supplements the few studies which bring the EAC to scholarship on regionalism but goes beyond them by examining the migration and identity implications of the EAC's migration regime. (iv) This analysis brings three intellectual traditions in International Politics- 1) African Studies, 2) Regionalism, and 3) Migration Studies- in conversation while also steering clear of the deep and broad theoretical debates typical of these sub-disciplines (Baldwin 1993) in order to stress context- and policy-relevance. …

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